UA Engineering Design Day 2017: A Date to Remember

A drone for pollinating date palm trees takes the top prize at Design Day 2017.

Art imitated life at the University of Arizona's 15th annual Engineering Design Day on May 1. The top-winning project was a drone designed to do what bees do best.

The semiautonomous aerial vehicle, which was featured in a video, even sounded like a swarm of bees flying over Medjool date palm trees at a nursery in Yuma, Arizona. The team of seniors who built it won the Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design.

A packed student union ballroom at Design Day 2017."Existing drones used to propagate the trees drop pollen from nylon stockings, which is not very efficient," said systems engineering senior Victor Cortez. "Our drone has an automated 45-gram pollen canister that drops a precise payload of pollen over each tree and can pollinate 12 trees in one flight."

That could yield big savings in time and money for farmers, and even reduce injuries.

"Fewer workers will have to go up in these palm trees, which are very spiky," said Sara Harders, a senior in agricultural and biosystems engineering, whose department sponsored the project. The team is one of several fine-tuning their prototypes for commercialization.

Such ingenuity -- with an eye on the bottom line and a spirit of entrepreneurship -- was in abundance at the College of Engineering's annual Design Day extravaganza. More than 500 seniors presented collaborative projects hatched over nine months. Their designs addressed real-life problems posed mostly by external corporate sponsors but also by UA departments and colleges.

"This is really the essence of engineering," said College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. "Working with faculty mentors and industry sponsors, our students are helping to solve real-life problems -- just as they will be doing throughout their careers."

Design Day gave many students a career boost, with job offers aplenty and industry-sponsored awards totaling more than $25,000.

Good Drones, Bad Drones

Another team won big for technology it developed to take down drones. The Anti-Drone Device project, sponsored by Raytheon, won the TRAX International Award for Best Implementation of Agile Methodology.

Drones on display at Design Day 2017"Commercial drones aren't usually used for espionage, but their video-recording capabilities can pose a threat to privacy," said systems engineering major Shivani Patel. "There are military-grade solutions to prevent spying from drones, but in the commercial market, there isn't a device that is autonomous, legal and safe for the everyday consumer to disable drones."

Seniors in chemical and environmental engineering made a strong showing on Design Day. Many of their projects aimed to conserve water. One project for recycling dairy wastewater for Arizona-based Shamrock Foods won the first place Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use. Another, for converting wastewater to drinking water, won the second-place innovation award from the Bly Family, along with the Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Best Engineering Analysis.

"Chemical engineering is the art of changing what's made in the lab to produce a product that's going to help hundreds of thousands of people," said chemical engineering senior Erica Clevenger, whose team developed a more water-efficient technique for manufacturing the arthritic drug Enbrel.

Some projects were designed to help one person but ultimately could help many more.

The Unpowered Exoskeleton was built to make walking and exercising easier for UA undergraduate student Jeffrey Bristol, who has cerebral palsy. Initiated by Jeffrey's mother, the project won the first place Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award.

Grace Under Pressure

Sometimes, despite their best efforts, senior design teams encounter obstacles that prevent them from meeting goals for Design Day.

A team sponsored by Alicat Scientific spent nine months developing a trade show display to demonstrate flow and pressure controller performance. The design called for two rotating rods supporting a scrolling whiteboard material, a single-acting spring-return air cylinder and a seismograph-like drawing system for an eye-catching display of the fast response and settling time of Alicat's pressure regulating technology.

But things didn't go as planned, and the team made an 11th-hour decision to revert to an earlier prototype using a paper spool.

"There was too much tension, and the motors stalled," said Justine Saugen, a senior in electrical and computer engineering. "We were trying to fix the problem at 2 this morning, and the first thing that came to my mind was, 'Let's go back to what we originally had.' So now we have just a single spool of paper, and only one of our motors is pulling it. But it's something that we can show people."

Engineers of All Kinds

This year's winning projects also reflected the cross-disciplinary emphasis of the UA's Engineering Design Program, in which teams of seniors from different disciplines work on disparate problems from diverse industries.

For example, Microsoft's Best System Software Design Award went to a project sponsored by GEOST to make it easier for amateur astronomers to transport a telescope to an open area and aim it at a particular part of the sky. Another project sponsored by Ventana Medical Systems for improving tissue imaging won the Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future Award.

Other winning projects offered solutions for preventing cars from crashing and spacecraft from burning up. See the full list of award winners below.

More than 130 professionals volunteered as Design Day judges this year. David Upchurch, just retired from Universal Avionics after 34 years, has been on board as a Design Day judge for the past five years.

"I worked in sales and marketing, but I have an engineering degree," he said. "A couple of my colleagues said, 'It's a lot of fun; you ought to try it.' I did, and I fell in love with it. The best part is seeing how the students take a real-life problem and try to create their own solution."

Nearly 115 professionals volunteered as technical mentors to Design Day teams, including Mike Szlemko from Raytheon.

"Year after year UA Engineering seniors bring a fresh perspective in their approaches and ideas for helping us resolve engineering challenges," he said.

Design Day 2017 Awards and Winners

Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design • $2,500
Autonomous Aerial Pollination of Medjool Date Trees
Design team: Fatemah Alabdullah, Victor Cortez, Sara Harders, Ricardo Andres Jimenez, Brian Normandeau, Emma Noel Skidmore
Project sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering

Microsoft Award for Best System Software Design • $2,500
Roboscope Cart
Design team: Lisa Kathryn Bennett, Matthew Ryan Dzurick, Michael Thomas Futch, Kevin Norman Sherwood, Kyle Lee Tatum
Project sponsor: GEOST

Bly Family Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use, First Prize • $1,500
Bioremediation of Dairy Wastewater for Reuse
Design team: Kara Elizabeth Kanto, Catherine Marie Patton, Connor Thomas Stahl, Calliandra Suzanne Stuffle
Project sponsor: Shamrock Foods

Bly Family Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use, Second Prize • $500
Design of a Wastewater-to-Drinking Water Facility
Design team: Abigail Saville Ballam, Cayleigh Ross MacKenzie, Ryan Valente Petronella, Jonathan David Schertzer
Project sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future • $250 Each Up to $1,750
Tissue Imaging and Selective Reagent Dispense System
Design team: Adam O. Abdelatif, Oksana Carlson, Christopher Nguyen, Eduardo Ramirez, Jordan Stupka
Project sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems

Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award, First Prize • $1,500
Unpowered Exoskeleton
Design team: Martin Galaz, Jason Niran Keatseangsilp, Amanda Tolulope Koiki, Joshua Rufus Owl, Thomas Fernando Valenzuela, Cole Larson Waldren
Project sponsor: The Bristol Family

Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award, Second Prize • $750
Low Cost Ultrafine Particle Detector
Design team: Tiange He, Sean Matthew Parker, Lauren Christine Rimsza, Bryan Shane Rogers, Sarah Megan Shepis
Project sponsor: Honeywell

Rincon Research Best Presentation • $1,500
Modular Payload Bay for Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Design team: Soosan Han, Johann Meister, Taylor James Moore, Stephan Murray, Andres David Rebeil, Tristan Robert Roberts
Project sponsor: Northrop Grumman

Ventana Innovation in Engineering • $1,500
Adhesive Single-Slide Dispense Packaging System for Coverslips
Design team: Feras Antoun, Caleb Daniel Canchola, Nazar Cem, Brett Joseph Deitering, Timur Taljanovic
Project sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems

ACSS/L-3 Communications Most Robust Systems Engineering • $1,000
Bifurcated Fiber Optic Cable System for Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield Spectrometer
Design team: Laura Haferkamp, David Greif, Giuseppe Lo Voi, Kyel Powell, Andrew Daniel Rocha
Project sponsor: NASA and UA College of Engineering

Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Best Design Documentation • $1,000
Consumer-Augmented Reality Device
Design team: Bryan Jacob Eberson, Mark Ross Fleckenstein, Jacob Garan, Michael Dean Hailwood, Steven Pierre Hicks
Project sponsor: Vidi VR

Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest • $1,000
Automotive Lidar Collision-Avoidance System
Design team: Megha Agarwal, Alisha Keshav Bandekar, Ashley Soyoung Kang, Tyler Jon Martis, Hossein Namazyfard, Alan Yeh
Project sponsor: Texas Instruments

TRAX International Best Implementation of Agile Methodology • $1,000
Anti-Drone Device
Design team: Sydney Alexandra Clark, Jessica Bingxin Cheung, Evan DeForest, Ivan Cordoba-Herrera, Justin Larimore, Shivani Hasmukh Patel
Project sponsor: Raytheon

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Best Engineering Analysis • $750
Design of a Wastewater-to-Drinking Water Facility
Design team: Abigail Saville Ballam, Cayleigh Ross MacKenzie, Ryan Valente Petronella, Jonathan David Schertzer
Project sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Innovation in Manufacturing • $750
Castable Tooling Improvements for Composite Manufacturing
Design team: Jonathan Robert Francis Hancock, Joshua Robert Malzahn, Adam Christopher Sweeney, Sanjay Tharmarajah
Project sponsor: Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing

Edmund Optics Perseverance and Recovery • $750
Feasibility of a Windscreen Head-Up Display
Design team: Kade William Bowers, Abril Lopez Garcia, Savannah Paige Gaston, Bradley Jarrett Nees, Isaiah Brandon Strong
Project sponsor: Honeywell

PADT Best Use of Prototyping • $750
Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System
Design team: Kevin Brinkman, Sandra Araiza Cruz, Dalton J. Hirst, Fermin Prieto, Alejandro R. Thompson
Project sponsor: Xeridiem

RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design • $750
Felt Recoil Measurement System
Design team: Kevin Andrew Barr, Jacob Henry Niccum, David Renner, Robert Steven Rystrom, Amelia Sylvester, Mathew Alan Stockman
Project sponsor: Raytheon

W.L. Gore & Associates Most Creative Solution • $750
Compact Self-Regenerating Desiccant Breather
Design team: Philip James Ciuffetelli, Riley Magsino, Brent Allan Miller, David Joseph Selby, Andrew Whiteside
Project sponsor: AGM Container Controls

Dataforth Corporation Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System • $500
Strut Condition Monitor for Large Mining Trucks
Design team: Ryan Dale Barents, David Farrell, Daniel Steven Small, Israel Valle, Zheng Zhou
Project sponsor: Caterpillar

Honeywell Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design • $500
Turbulence-Compensated Table Mechanism
Design team: James Ellis Beulke, Abigail Maria Francis, Taha Hasan, Davis James McGregor, Andrew William Walsh, Qiang Zhang
Project sponsor: B/E Aerospace

Honeywell Team Leadership 1 • $250
Bifurcated Fiber Optic Cable System for Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield Spectrometer
Design team: Andrew Daniel Rocha (winner), Laura Haferkamp, David Greif, Giuseppe Lo Voi, Kyel Powell
Project sponsor: NASA and UA College of Engineering

Honeywell Team Leadership 2 • $250
Novel Helminthic Therapy Cultivation and Dose-Dispensing Systems
Design team: Jessica Carlyle Owens (winner), Lucrezia Capano, Maxwell Li, Marco Miramontes, Saffie-Alrahman Ezz-Eldin Mohran
Project sponsor: Arizona Center for Accelerated BioMedical Innovation

Latitude Engineering Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design • $500
Dynamically Scaled Research Testbed
Design team: Jeremy Ryan Harrington, Jonathan Robert Heinkel, Jorge Alberto Castro Maldonado, Michael David Meersman, Jacob Benjamin Pavek, Danielle Joan Lim Racelis, Christopher Andrew Ramos, Arek James Rembelski
Project sponsor: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Prototron Circuits Best Printed Circuit Design • $500
Miniature Surge Suppressor
Design team: Zean R. Alzawawi, Christopher Jason Horinek, Nicholas Katsinas, Brian Lawrence Kelly, Carray Ying
Project sponsor: Raytheon

II-VI Optical Systems Best Use of Optical Design and Technology • $500
Consumer-Augmented Reality Device
Design team: Bryan Jacob Eberson, Mark Ross Fleckenstein, Jacob Garan, Michael Dean Hailwood, Steven Pierre Hicks
Project sponsor: Vidi VR

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award, First Prize • $250
Autonomous Macadamia Nut Harvester Enhancement
Design team: Emily Patricia Evans (winner), Nicklaus George Arnold, Alexis Elizabeth Corrion, Hailey Marie Ogren, Jason Robert Stone
Project sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award, Second Prize • $150
Laser-Guided Robotic Terminal for Prebonding Part Alignment
Design team: Jacob Nathaniel Boyer (winner), Adrianna Marie Ortiz-Flores, Daniel Ito, Stefanie Wells, Kate Wollgast
Project sponsor: Quartus Engineering

Top picture: Team 16062, who designed a drone for autonomous aerial pollination of Medjool date trees, accepts the Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design at the Design Day 2017 awards ceremony.